Thursday, May 26, 2011

Textiles in Bali

One of the things that Bali is famous for is their textiles. I'd say that before I went there, when I thought of Bali, I thought of fabrics and cloth, particularly batik. I was really looking forward to getting to see some these textiles, and thus it was with a great deal of pleasure that I acceded to my taxi drivers suggestion on my very first day there that we go to a shop that specialized in Batik. What I didn't expect was that there would be a chance for me to see some other aspects of threadcraft - specifically, weaving!

It started with this woman, who was in the process of making a spool out of some thread.

For the weaving, this is the main thread that they use:

This is a good idea of what the weaving looks like when it's done:

It was rather baffled - how did they get the pattern? I don't really know anything about weaving, but as far as I could tell they were only using one shuttle. My only current theory is that the thread is self striping in some way. Anyone know more about weaving have a few minutes to explain this mystery to me?

One of the other really neat things about these looms was that the shuttles bobbed back and forth automatically when the treadle was worked. At least, I thought it was neat... (I know so little about weaving that for all I can say this might be standard and normal! :) )

This didn't end up being my only opportunity to learn about weaving! Later in the trip, a group of us visited the Bali Museum in Denpasar. This museum had an entire room (out of only about four rooms) dedicated to weaving. It featured a traditional loom:

...and a traditional spinning wheel.

Then there was this doohicky. I have no idea what it did (though I think it might have been some form of gin, as in, a device for separating the seeds from cotton).

The results were really beautiful.

There's a lot of interesting things about these textiles. For example, the patterns are unique to local villages, so someone who is very knowledgeable about these things can figure out where any textile made on the island is from! While these lovely textiles are not every day wear anymore, I got to see a great deal of it because the guests at my friends wedding wore lots of awesome examples. Like, here's the bride and groom:

And the maid of honor and mother of the bride:

I really had to resist taking pictures of all the people at the wedding, just so I could ogle all of their lovely, lovely woven sarongs.

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